Pest Identification & Monitoring
Get To Know Your Landscape and GardenScouting and monitoring for pest populations is essential to good IPM programs. The power of observation can be the most important tool needed and is the basis for the concept of Scouting and Monitoring in IPM. By regularly inspecting the premises and plantings, insects and other arthropods can be detected and identified to make sure which are causing damage.
Scouting, using sampling methods for various insect or arthropods, is a more formalized method of detection that also helps quantify abundance of the organism or the plant injury/damage they cause. Our technicians use a variety of methods for monitoring and identifying pest issues.
First, determine whether a pest problem truly exists. Most insects, animals, plants and microorganisms on your property are harmless. If you see a suspicious insect, plant or animal on your property, Island Environmental can help you identify it and decide whether it warrants control. You need to properly identify the pest in order to select a control method.
Know Your Pest, Know Your SolutionGeneral identifications can lead to control problems which is why pest identification should be as accurate as possible. Management programs improve significantly with specific knowledge of the pest, its life cycle and behavior. Careful monitoring of species can enable you to detect subtle changes. If the cause of a plant’s health problem is undiagnosed, control measures are often futile. Plant deformities or irregular growth may be caused by insect pests that have already left or ones that are difficult to identify, as well as by disease, improper watering or fertilizing, toxic compounds and other problems.
Sampling methods available for turfgrass and ornamental plant pests allow for detection, estimation of abundance and/or plant injury, and evaluation of any suppression tactics implemented. By continuing these scouting or monitoring practices throughout the year or growing season, pest population levels and plant injury can be documented and anticipated in future years during the same season. Thus, it is possible to anticipate insect pest problems before they occur.
Insects, Diseases, and Integrated Pest ManagementIf pest populations threaten plant health, become a nuisance or aesthetically intolerable, the action threshold may have been exceeded and suppression tactics should be implemented by using IPM practices either alone or in combination.
First, consider cultural methods such as removal of a chronically-infested plant and replacing it with a non-host plant species or variety. If natural enemies of the pest are present, preserve them and determine if there are biological control agents available and feasible for release for the problem. Finally, consider use of chemical controls, when justified. Even then, the least-toxic methods should be given preference such as insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils.
The important thing to remember here is that there is no such thing as an insect-free landscape. Insects are a vital part of the environment and, overall, play an important beneficial role. So, just because a pest is present doesn’t necessarily mean there is a problem.